marriage: an investigation

When You Realize You’ll Never Love Him as Much As He Loves You

They say you can never understand someone else’s marriage. But this week, New York Magazine and the Cut decided to try. We interrogated dozens of couples (and a throuple) to see what makes their marriages work — or not.

I met my husband the second weekend after I got to college. Since graduating, the only time we weren’t under the same roof was when he was at grad school. He’s always been — I don’t even understand it — dead set on “You’re it.” He always adored me more than I adored him. It’s not that I don’t think he’s great, but who I was at 18 is not who I am now. I don’t know if I’d choose the same partner now. It’s not about other men, though I’m sure that’s part of it. When we met, I was so green. Any sort of sexual awakening or discovery of my body as an adult has all been through him. It’s like, what’s out there, what kind of interesting things would someone else bring out of me?

I was always on the fence about a kid, but he wanted to have one. I agreed, and we got pregnant and I had a miscarriage. I found his response lacking—he was a little cold. But it brought up other issues for me. Like, maybe it’s the universe saying, You have another chance! I checked out for a while. I cheated. It was more of an emotional relationship, but still … My husband found out and was very upset. He said he was going to leave me, and I had a strong reaction against that. I love the companionship, the history, the little family we built. But then, do I want him to leave? Kind of. We went to see a counselor and we just fell back into the relationship. And then we got pregnant.

Another issue is I’ve never been settled with my career. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing, and my poor husband, he’s very settled: “I have a job I love, this woman I love, the family I always wanted.”

It sounds crazy, but the orderliness of him annoys the shit out of me. His T-shirts are folded perfectly at all times. But I’m a mess. My head’s a mess.

I only want good things for him — he’s a good human being — and that includes the relationship he wants. I just don’t know how to give it to him.

The love our daughter has for us can sustain us for a while. She wants family hugs. We wouldn’t be hugging right now if it weren’t for her. I’ve told my husband this: “I’ve given you the child you always wanted. And maybe that’s the peak and, you know, we can end now.”

*This article appears in the April 1, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

When You Realize He Loves You More Than You Love Him